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BY Emma Grace
Cannabis and creativity--what’s the deal? That, my friends, is one of the biggest questions in the weed world today. There’s a whole lot of speculation about whether or not consumption of cannabis leads to increased creativity, especially in the music industry. Can musicians write better music while under the influence? Let’s find out!
There are many articles present on the internet that answer this question in a multitude of ways. Some artists feel they did better while working sober, and some artists feel like they would not have been able to bring their songs to fruition without a little help. Louis Armstrong was one of the first artists to be upfront about smoking weed, stating; “…it’s an assistant – a friend.” Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys (who wrote Pet Sounds) also spoke of using weed to help him write the music on that album.
As we all know, weed physically affects our bodies. But did you know that it can actually increase our creativity?
THC causes the body to release dopamine aka our “happy hormone.” Keep in mind, this is a short-term effect, but an important one nonetheless. This neurotransmitter can cause reduced inhibition, there and remove roadblocks to the thought process. It’s been found that this release of dopamine can help the mind to make connections between seemingly unconnected things.
This ability is called divergent thought, and it’s what makes a person creative. Essentially, divergent thought is exactly what someone means when they say to “think outside the box.” Many studies exist on how much cannabis can increase or decrease divergent thought, and the results are often conflicting. Regardless of whether or not cannabis can help facilitate better creativity, it is clear that to become the best musician possible, dedication and perseverance while practicing for many years are solidly a part of the road to success. Some people who smoke weed are amazing musicians, and some of them are absolutely awful. At the same time, some musicians are just plan terrible regardless of whether or not they smoke.
Since cannabis’s ability to increase divergent thought is based more on the individual than the plant itself, what we have is a “which came first, the chicken or the egg?” type of situation. Was the musician already good before smoking? Or does smoking make them a great musician? These are, unfortunately, questions that we may not have sufficient data to answer for a long time, at least for the unforeseeable future.
What we do know, however, is that there are some world-class artists out there who like to kick back with a joint from time to time (or all the time). Here are some artists who use weed to help them make awesome music:
One of the most influential reggae artists of all time, Bob Marley was rarely seen without a joint. He viewed marijuana as a holy herb rather than simply a recreational drug, and used it on the path to enlightenment. He attributed his music to the divine nature of the plant and the connections it gave him with the world.
We all know that Snoop Dogg smokes. He even smokes with his son, saying that there’s no better way to learn than from the master. We agree! With seven (7) platinum albums, it’s no secret that weed influences Snoop’s creativity and music. I mean, one of his all-time-greatest hits is called “Smoke Weed Every Day.” If that isn’t inspired by cannabis, I don’t know what is.
This Grammy-award-winning artist (and Oscar-winning actress) routinely rolls a joint to help “take her to new creative levels” while working in the studio. She even smoked onstage in Amsterdam once--gosh, I wish I was at that concert!
This country music star (and her husband, Ruston Kelly) are not shy about their love of weed. Kacey’s mentioned it in multiple hits, including Follow Your Arrow and Dandelion. A lot of her lyrics about pot also mention the freedom that comes with it, and considering she writes her own music, it’s pretty safe to assume that she’s been inspired by the plant.
The above artists have already made it big--most of them are household names, regardless of is the household in question is a pot-smoking one. But what about the next generation of musicians who smoke? These next few artists are up-and-coming individuals who enjoy a good joint before a session in the studio:
Pandemic-popular rapper Erica Banks is now an all-the-time-popular artist. Her hit Buss It inspired many viral TikToks, and she credits weed for her best studio sessions. Her favorite strains are Gorilla Glue and Sour Diesel, btw.
Another fresh-off-the-streets artist, this Ukranian-Jewish kid from Brooklyn loves weed so much he released an album on 4/20. Check out his site here; he’s got some pretty sick vinyls. His most popular hit, So High, was released in 2021. $5 if you can guess what it’s about!
This weed-inspired artist has an album called The Growing Process, which includes a song called Smoke You Out. He smokes regularly to write new music, and has his own strain called Dizzy OG. Apparently, it’s a sweet, heady OG Kush that’s designed for smokers with a high tolerance (like he does).
As we’ve mentioned before, not all strains are created equal. They do different things, and what you smoke can have a direct influence on your creative process. Indica-heavy strains tend to give you a more physical high--these are the ones that can put you to sleep. If we’re going to create, we don’t want that! Instead, try a Sativa-dominant strain, like the ones listed below. These will give you a more cerebral high, unlocking through processes you might not have even known about.
While I’m no musician, I am an author. For years I wrote stone-cold sober, due in part to living at home, lacking a way to get weed, and simply not knowing better.
Then college happened.
I’ll never forget sitting in the library with friends one night, holed up in a study room until well after dark, working on my latest novel while everyone else tackled end-of-semester papers and presentations. One of my good friends was sitting next to me, and leaned over to take a look at my work. He mentioned offhand that I should try writing while stoned--I said I’d never really thought of that. Then he slipped his dab pen into my hand under the table and motioned for me to go to the bathroom.
I came back from that bathroom break high as a kite, slipped him the pen, and got to work. What happened next forever changed the way I viewed my creative process: I wrote.
I wrote just over 1,000 words in half an hour, complete with dialogue that was actually funny and a plot twist that surprised even me. The words flowed like water, and I was completely zoned-in. It was one of the most profound creative experiences I’d ever had.
Since then, I’ve tweaked my writing smoke sessions a bit. I stick to Sativa-heavy strains, knowing that they enhance creativity and really wake your brain up. I smoke in the comfort of my own apartment to avoid the paranoia that comes with being in the library (“but what if the librarian sees how red my eyes are?”), and I turn on some lofi hits to really set the mood.
What remains constant, however, is this: when I need a really good writing session, I smoke.
Does weed increase your creativity? Well, it depends on the person We know that THC can increase your dopamine levels, which can make you more creative by encouraging divergent thought. We also know that plenty of world-famous musicians smoke on the regular and testify to the plant’s ability to enhance their creative processes. We know that it makes yours truly a better writer. But whether or not weed will increase your creativity is entirely up to you.
If you’re feeling curious, well, then there’s only one thing to do! Get yourself some green and a way to smoke it (maybe even a bong from monroeblvd's very own shop) and test it out. Sit back, relax, and let those creative juices flow. And stay toasty, friends.
Emma Grace is a full-time student, writer, and lover of Marvel movies. She spends most of her time ignoring her responsibilities in favor of reading, learning global geography, and finding new ways to prepare instant noodles. She lives with her parents and sister and a very needy dog named Eloise.